EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Maybe it's best that this road trip is over.
The Red Wings closed out their unmemorable four game road trip unable to get past the stifling defense of the New Jersey Devils, and the Devils took a 1-0 win.
The first period was defensively strong for both teams. Shots were blocked, passes were taken away, and neither team had a very good chance to set up a scoring play. The Devils outshot the Wings by a count of 9-5, but Manny Legace was strong in net and the score stayed at zero.
The Red Wings began to carry the play more as the second period wore on, and they generated more chances against goalie Martin Brodeur. Sergei Fedorov had a breakaway try, and his shot rang off the post. Brett Hull was in the clear near the side of the net and received a bouncing pass from Henrik Zetterberg. Hull got the shot away, but Brodeur slid across just in time to deny Hull his 700th goal.
Detroit took a questionable penalty for having too many men on the ice early in the second (Luc Robitaille played the puck as Darren McCarty was stepping off of the ice), and the Devils were able to capitalize on their power play. Brian Rafalski passed to Scott Niedermayer at the right point. Niedermayer's shot got through to the net, Legace was screened enough to not see the shot in time, and the Devils led 1-0.
Once the Devils had their lead, they tightened up their defense even more. The Red Wings were only able to get three shots against Brodeur in the entire twenty minutes of play, even though a sixth skater was sent in in the last minute of play.
The final count of shots on net was 29 to 16 for the Devils. The Red Wings will return home for their last game before the All-Star Break. They will face off against the Florida Panthers on Thursday evening.
Notes: Chris Chelios had an MRI on the injured leg which kept him out of this, his third straight game. The MRI showed nothing serious, but Chelios will rest and return to the lineup after the All-Star Break.... Tomas Holmstrom sat out this game with a bruised chest, but should return for Thursday's game.... Manny Legace currently holds the NHL lead for save percentage, at 0.937. His goals against average is 1.86, which is second only to the Stars' Marty Turco, who has 1.81.